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Cablegate: Results Report: Tpc On Press Freedom

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000684

SIPDIS

DEPT. FOR B/IIP; ECA/PE/V/P LOCKWOOD, THOMPSON; ECA/PE/V/G/A
REED; INFO AF/PD DALTON, IIP/SC/IPI LEVANTHAL

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KPAO OEXC SCUL ZI
SUBJECT: RESULTS REPORT: TPC ON PRESS FREEDOM

1. DESCRIPTION OF ACTIVITY: In commemoration of World Press
Freedom Day, PAS Harare organized a telepress conference
(TPC) to stimulate discussion on what it means to have a
free and responsible media, what it means to have a healthy
working relationship between the government and media, and
how media can enhance self-regulation and ethics.

2. MAY 3, 2005, SECOND QUARTER, FY 2005.

3. JUSTIFICATION AND OBJECTIVE: To celebrate World Press
Freedom Day and to support Zimbabwean journalists in their
quest to create more working space for journalists either by
relief from stringent media laws, such as the Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA), or by
creating an environment where the GOZ no longer selectively
enforces those laws to intimidate the media resulting in
widespread self-censorship.

4. MPP THEME AND AUDIENCE: Democracy and Human Rights;
Public Diplomacy.

5. AUDIENCE: More than 70 local journalists drawn from the
privately owned media and the government-controlled print
and electronic media packed the PAS auditorium to listen to
and report on the TPC program that linked Harare,
Johannesburg and Washington via a telephone hook up. The
program featured John Ullmann, executive director of the
World Press Institute (WPI); Ms. Marguerite Sullivan, author
of "A Responsible Press Office;" PAO Smith as moderator in
Harare with Mr. Foster Dongozi, Secretary General of the
Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ) and Mr. Rashweat Mukundu
of the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA)-Zimbabwe.
Daniel Molokela, Human Rights Lawyer, and the Guardian (UK)
newspaper correspondent Andrew Meldrum, who had been
expelled by the Mugabe government joined from Johannesburg,
South Africa.

6. The exchange ran for one and half hours and had to be
ended to allow the journalists to attend a meeting with the
Attorney General at ZUJ headquarters. All local media and
correspondents, including South African Broadcasting
Corporation Television and the state-run Zimbabwe Television
Newsnet crew, covered the program. Post is duplicating
audiotapes to send to Zimbabwean journalists in South Africa
and the United Kingdom who have already phoned or e-mailed
Post for copies of the program.

7. 5. RESULT/IMPACT: Our high expectations were fully
realized. Ullmann and Sullivan's messages were well
received. By exploring examples of both good practice and
common errors, the U.S. panelists mapped out a course for
press freedom, saying it requires carefully crafted and
thoroughly debated public policies that provide the
foundation for a pluralistic free press. Ullmann and
Sullivan advocated a more democratic media system that
allows diversity of opinion, adding that this, in turn, will
lead to a more participatory and accountable government and
to more sustainable national policies and practices.

Without such policies, democracy and even efficient
governance becomes close to impossible.
8. PAS distributed more than 50 copies of "The Unfettered
Press" handbook, as well as 25 copies of Ms. Sullivan's book
"A Responsible Press Office." Many journalists also signed
up to receive copies of the 2004 "Country Reports on Human
Rights Practices." Post received a round of kudos for
organizing "a stimulating program." Journalists expressed
appreciation for the program, which several called
"stimulating." ed the attention and tThey also expressed
appreciation for realization that there is the
international concern about their well being. Dongozi of ZUJ
told us that the Embassy, by soliciting GOZ participation in
a press freedom program, finessed the Attorney General into
a position where he had no choice but to meet with
journalists. Furthermore, he and Mukundu said believe that
combined pressure from their organizations and the Embassy
led to a series of articles in the State-run media
attempting to justify the Information Access to Information
and Protection of Privacy Act (IAPPA) and its enforcement.
They were happy to see the Government addressing issues and
forced - if only momentarily - to cease ad hominem name-
calling.

9. PRESS COVERAGE: Separate reports to follow on TPC
coverage and the political status of the media in the
environment after the March 31 parliamentary elections.

10. NON-USG SUPPORT: We are very grateful to the Mail and
Guardian newspaper in Johannesburg, South Africa for giving
up its boardroom for the TPC program.

11. QUALITY OF SUPPORT: EXCELLENT. Kudos to Jenifer
Bochner and IIP for an excellent program. WWhile Ullman had
excellent advice on how working journalists might carve out
areas in which they can do objective investigative
reporting, we were disappointed with his criticism of the
that he twice obfuscated on the effects of the Patriot Act's
effect on press freedom in the U.S. His apparent pre-
disposition to see any regulation as hampering reporting,
His comments allowed many Zimbabwean journalists to leave
the program believing that the Patriot Act has eliminated or
greatly restricted press freedom in the U.S., as the ZANU-PF
and GOZ very often claim in their attempts to show moral
equivalency on the issue. Because of this misperception, we
appreciate any good counter-arguments on this issue, perhaps
from Todd Leventhal's shop, IIP/SC/IPI, or other colleagues
who have run into the problem.

DELL

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